The 5G/6G Hub – based at ESA’s European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) at Harwell in the UK – is a place for collaboration and innovation, where industry will take advantage of the immense potential of converged satellite and terrestrial telecommunications networks to create advanced applications that benefit society and the environment. Benefiting from the support of the UK Space Agency (UKSA) the Hub fits into the UK Government’s 5G and 6G strategy.
While initially focused on 5G, as the connectivity transformation continues, a further generation, 6G, will become part of the Hub and provide even greater capacity.
Developed with information technology company CGI, the 5G/6G Hub enables three types of activities, through the provision of a private 5G network with SatCom connectivity in a business-driven facility designed to engage the wider community.
• Events and Showcases
The ESA 5G/6G Hub provides a focal point at the Harwell Science & Innovation Campus from where the capabilities enabled by innovative uses of 5G and SatCom technologies can be demonstrated to VIPs, industry, and the general public.
• Engineering Demonstrations and Applications
The ESA 5G Hub provides a location at which Application Developers and Service Providers can come together to test and verify the feasibility and benefits of their 5G converged network applications and services.
• Engineering Lab
The ESA 5G Hub provides an engineering lab within which technical engineering and support can be provided to demonstrate and integrate new 5G and SatCom capabilities and equipment functionalities.
Each of these activities supports the other. The Engineering Lab supports the development of Demonstrators and Applications, and these Demonstrators and Applications support the outreach activities. The support of ESA ensures that the environment is considered “open”: it supports multiple satellite service providers and potentially multiple core networks, radio access nodes etc.
The 5G/6G Hub is a gateway for commercialisation of space-enabled business ideas and multi-domain collaboration. Stakeholders from all vertical sectors are welcome to come and see how hybrid satellite-terrestrial networks can contribute to their business.
ESA’s ambition is to extend the Hub’s technology to cover businesses at the Harwell Campus, and then across Europe and beyond to connect with other research facilities, fostering innovation in ESA’s member states and globally. The 5G/6G Hub forms an integral part of ESA’s wider efforts to use space technology to enable connectivity.
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